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MILAN (VN) — Cycling is bracing itself for the hardest world championships in recent years. Last week, the organizer officially presented the course, which takes in Tuscany’s sights and cumulates with a circuit that includes two stiff climbs.
“It’s the hardest worlds circuit in recent years,” Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) told La Gazzetta dello Sport after riding it Friday. “It’s the one most adapted to me, but it won’t be easy to win because I’ll have to drop everyone.”
The Florence worlds calls back to 2003, when the peloton raced in Canada on a similarly tough Hamilton circuit. In recent years, only the circuits in Geelong, Australia, and in Limburg, Netherlands, came close to being as difficult as Hamilton was. Florence, however, has the numbers to suit grand tour riders and climbers like Nibali, Colombian Rigoberto Urán (Sky), and Australian Richie Porte (Sky).
The world championships start September 22, with the men’s race capping off the week seven days later. They will race 272.5 kilometers and climb 3,373 meters, which is comparable to classic like Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Since 2010, when the race began in Melbourne and finished with a Geelong circuit, the UCI has featured a point-to-point leg in the title fight. The elite men will begin in Lucca and ride 106km east to Florence, where they face the meat of the race: 10 circuits adding up to 50.4km or 3,000 meters of climbing.
Each circuit measures 16.57km. The Fiesole climbs for 4.3km and leaves 10.5km and two shorter, sharper climbs to race. The Via Salviati, 600 meters long and 5km out, hits 18 percent and Trento, 200m at 2.8km out, rises to 10 percent.
The road races, like the women’s event on Saturday from Montecatini Terme, start in different locations but feature the same tough circuit.
“The course is similar to an Ardennes classics,” Italian national coach Paolo Bettini said in a press release. “From the top of Via Salviati, the race is fast. Whoever is able to gain a few seconds will have the upper hand because the circuit is technical and the group will find it harder to follow and close the gap. If someone arrives with 20 seconds, they won’t be seen again.”
Porte is familiar with the area having lived and trained in Tuscany before moving after turning professional. He previewed the course in April before he began to build back for the Tour de France.
“The course is for good strong climbers, it’s hard,” Porte said in a press release.
“[The hardest is in] the last four kilometers. It’s a steep climb [Via Salviati]. I haven’t seen anything quite so hard in a worlds course. That will be crucial. Also, the distance makes every climb much harder.”
Nibali has the weight on his shoulders with a home course and this year’s Giro title in his palmarès. He previewed the course Friday with a handful of other Italians and Bettini, and made notes. The Fresiole climb, he said, can act as a launch pad and the final two ramps, with their technical run afterwards, could allow him to race to a rainbow jersey.
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- 1. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Sky, in 4:03:32
- 2. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 3. Gianni MEERSMAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
- 4. Thor HUSHOVD, BMC Racing, at :00
- 5. Elia VIVIANI, Cannondale, at :00
- 6. Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG, Argos-Shimano, at :00
- 7. Nacer BOUHANNI, FDJ, at :00
- 8. Paul VOSS, NetApp-Endura, at :00
- 9. Sylvain CHAVANEL, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
- 10. Francesco GAVAZZI, Astana, at :00
- 11. Geraint THOMAS, Sky, at :00
- 12. Florian VACHON, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 13. Tony GALLOPIN, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 14. Elia FAVILLI, Lampre-Merida, at :00
- 15. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at :00
- 16. Alexey LUTSENKO, Astana, at :00
- 17. Warren BARGUIL, Argos-Shimano, at :00
- 18. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00
- 19. Bram TANKINK, Blanco, at :00
- 20. Jakob FUGLSANG, Astana, at :00
- 21. Rohan DENNIS, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
- 22. Thomas DAMUSEAU, Argos-Shimano, at :00
- 23. Wouter POELS, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :00
- 24. José HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at :00
- 25. Angel MADRAZO RUIZ, Movistar, at :00
- 26. Michel KREDER, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
- 27. Richie PORTE, Sky, at :00
- 28. Rein TAARAMAE, Cofidis, at :00
- 29. Daniel NAVARRO GARCIA, Cofidis, at :00
- 30. Wesley SULZBERGER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 31. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at :00
- 32. Eros CAPECCHI, Movistar, at :00
- 33. Dominik NERZ, BMC Racing, at :00
- 34. Thomas ROHREGGER, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 35. Peter KENNAUGH, Sky, at :00
- 36. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 37. Timofey KRITSKIY, Katusha, at :00
- 38. Michael ROGERS, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00
- 39. Kevin SEELDRAEYERS, Astana, at :00
- 40. Ben HERMANS, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 41. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at :00
- 42. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at :00
- 43. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
- 44. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
- 45. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ, at :00
- 46. Armindo FONSECA, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 47. Arthur VICHOT, FDJ, at :00
- 48. Christophe LE MEVEL, Cofidis, at :00
- 49. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at :00
- 50. Jesus HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00
- 51. Ivan SANTAROMITA, BMC Racing, at :00
- 52. Laurent DIDIER, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 53. Egoi MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 54. Simon GERRANS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 55. Stef CLEMENT, Blanco, at :00
- 56. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at :00
- 57. Anthony GESLIN, FDJ, at :00
- 58. Laurens TEN DAM, Blanco, at :00
- 59. Damiano CUNEGO, Lampre-Merida, at :00
- 60. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 61. Tim WELLENS, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
- 62. Sergey LAGUTIN, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :00
- 63. Nikias ARNDT, Argos-Shimano, at :00
- 64. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at :00
- 65. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, Blanco, at :00
- 66. David TANNER, Blanco, at :00
- 67. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, Katusha, at :00
- 68. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 69. Alberto LOSADA ALGUACIL, Katusha, at :00
- 70. Jerome COPPEL, Cofidis, at :00
- 71. Kristijan DURASEK, Lampre-Merida, at :00
- 72. Sergei CHERNETSKI, Katusha, at :00
- 73. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 74. Alexandre GENIEZ, FDJ, at :00
- 75. Mikel ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 76. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at :00
- 77. Cyril GAUTIER, Europcar, at :00
- 78. David VEILLEUX, Europcar, at :00
- 79. Bart DE CLERCQ, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
- 80. Yohan BAGOT, Cofidis, at :00
- 81. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at :00
- 82. Matthew BUSCHE, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 83. Cayetano José SARMIENTO TUNARROSA, Cannondale, at :00
- 84. Leopold KONIG, NetApp-Endura, at :00
- 85. Egor SILIN, Astana, at :00
- 86. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ, at :00
- 87. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00
- 88. Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 89. Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 90. Assan BAZAYEV, Astana, at :00
- 91. Vegard Stake LAENGEN, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 92. Peio BILBAO, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 93. Johnny HOOGERLAND, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :00
- 94. Rudy MOLARD, Cofidis, at :00
- 95. Xavier FLORENCIO CABRE, Katusha, at :00
- 96. Tristan VALENTIN, Cofidis, at :00
- 97. David DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO, NetApp-Endura, at :00
- 98. Romain SICARD, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 99. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at :00
- 100. Arnaud GERARD, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 101. Florian GUILLOU, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 102. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at :00
- 103. Marco PINOTTI, BMC Racing, at :00
- 104. Sébastien DURET, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 105. José Joao PIMENTA COSTA MENDES, NetApp-Endura, at :00
- 106. Eduardo SEPULVEDA, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at :00
- 107. Pierrick FEDRIGO, FDJ, at :00
- 108. Daniel TEKLEHAIMANOT, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 109. Juan Manuel GARATE, Blanco, at :00
- 110. David LOPEZ GARCIA, Sky, at :00
- 111. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
- 112. Sylvester SZMYD, Movistar, at :00
- 113. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
- 114. Thomas VOECKLER, Europcar, at :00
- 115. Thomas DE GENDT, Vacansoleil-DCM, at :00
- 116. Ricardo GARCIA AMBROA, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :00
- 117. Petr IGNATENKO, Katusha, at :00
- 118. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC Racing, at :21
- 119. Matteo BONO, Lampre-Merida, at :38
- 120. Geoffrey SOUPE, FDJ, at :47
- 121. Juan Antonio FLECHA GIANNONI, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 1:54
- 122. Caleb FAIRLY, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:54
- 123. Francois PARISIEN, Argos-Shimano, at 1:54
- 124. Dennis VANENDERT, Lotto-Belisol, at 1:54
- 125. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, Lampre-Merida, at 1:54
- 126. Marc GOOS, Blanco, at 1:54
- 127. Nikolas MAES, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 1:54
- 128. Jan BARTA, NetApp-Endura, at 1:54
- 129. Jean-Marc BIDEAU, Bretagne-Sech Environment, at 1:54
- 130. Mikhail IGNATYEV, Katusha, at 1:54
- 131. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 1:54
- 132. Bertjan LINDEMAN, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 1:54
- 133. Kris BOECKMANS, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 1:54
- 134. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at 1:59
- 135. Benjamin KING, RadioShack-Leopard, at 1:59
- 136. Jonathan CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS, Movistar, at 2:02
- 137. Eloy TERUEL ROVIRA, Movistar, at 2:02
- 138. Federico CANUTI, Cannondale, at 2:02
- 139. Koldo FERNANDEZ, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:05
- 140. Jurgen VAN DE WALLE, Lotto-Belisol, at 3:03
- 141. Frantisek RABON, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 3:48
- 142. Robert WAGNER, Blanco, at 3:48
- 143. Lawrence WARBASSE, BMC Racing, at 3:48
- 144. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC Racing, at 3:48
- 145. Andrew TALANSKY, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:48
- 146. Timothy DUGGAN, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 3:48
- 147. Brian VANDBORG, Cannondale, at 3:48
- 148. Massimo GRAZIATO, Lampre-Merida, at 3:48
- 149. Alexander WETTERHALL, NetApp-Endura, at 3:48
- 150. Mitchell DOCKER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 3:48
- 151. Lieuwe WESTRA, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 3:48
- 152. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at 4:09
- 153. Maciej PATERSKI, Cannondale, at 4:09
- 154. Andreas SCHILLINGER, NetApp-Endura, at 4:09
- 155. Nicki SÖRENSEN, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 4:09
- 156. Benjamin NOVAL GONZALEZ, Saxo-Tinkoff, at 4:09
- 157. Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar, at 4:09
- 158. Anthony CHARTEAU, Europcar, at 4:09
- 159. Fumiyuki BEPPU, Orica-GreenEdge, at 4:09
- 160. Natnael BERHANE, Europcar, at 4:09
- 161. Sander CORDEEL, Lotto-Belisol, at 4:09
- 162. Martin VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 4:09
- 163. Yann HUGUET, Argos-Shimano, at 4:09
- 164. William CLARKE, Argos-Shimano, at 4:09
- 165. Ian STANNARD, Sky, at 7:52
- 166. Jack BAUER, Garmin-Sharp, at 7:52
- 167. Yannick EIJSSEN, BMC Racing, at 7:52
- 168. Travis MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 7:52
- 169. Andrea PALINI, Lampre-Merida, at 7:52
- 170. Dmitriy MURAVYEV, Astana, at 7:52
- 171. Jacob RATHE, Garmin-Sharp, at 9:37
- 172. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at 9:37
- DNF Gaetan BILLE, Lotto-Belisol
- DNS Chris Anker SÖRENSEN, Saxo-Tinkoff
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) won stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday.
The 167-kilometer stage from Ambérieu-en-Bugey to Tarare ended in a quick sprint, with Boasson Hagen pulling around teammate Geraint Thomas in the final straightaway to edge Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
“I’m really happy. The team did a really great job,” Boasson Hagen said on a broadcast of the race. “I felt pretty good in the sprint and I managed to take the win. I’m happy for the team, it’s so great to ride on it. The whole team is really strong.”
David Veilleux (Europcar) remains the GC leader, with Meersman 1:56 back in second. Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Leopard) is third, 1:57 behind Veilleux.
(Very) early break
Moments after the stage started, four riders — Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-GreenEdge), Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) — jumped out front and formed a breakaway. They rode together for most of the day, helped by the flat first half of the course.
With 20km left, however, the gap started falling rapidly and one by one, the foursome dropped off and was swallowed up by the peloton.
Cordeel was the last survivor, as he was caught with just over 13km remaining.
The eight-day race resumes with Wednesday’s stage 4, a 32.5km time trial.
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MILAN (VN) — Italy wakes up with a black eye this morning, after getting punched and having its money stolen. What were supposed to be happy times — Vincenzo Nibali (Cannondale), an Italian winning the Giro d’Italia, and the world championships happening later this year in Florence — has been spoiled. Mauro Santambrogio’s EPO doping case overnight further underlined the country’s poor state.
“This is it, I no longer have the desire to continue,” Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team director Luca Scinto told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I want to quit cycling.”
Scinto was at the headquarters of the Italian cycling federation (FCI) in Rome yesterday. The federation called him to ask about Danilo Di Luca’s EPO positive. While at the FCI offices, his phone buzzed with the news of Santambrogio’s positive. He had every reason to want to quit cycling, with two of his riders testing positive before and during Italy’s biggest race. For a second division team, which only raced thanks to a special wildcard invite, the news was dreadful.
Di Luca tested positive in a pre-race control and was kicked out on May 24. Santambrogio, the Jafferau stage winner and who finished ninth overall, failed an anti-doping control on day 1 in Naples.
The doping cases shine a bad light on Italian cycling at a time when it should have been celebrating. The Giro d’Italia was the worst weather-wise in years, but it produced memorable stages. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) struggled through downpours, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) soloed up the Col du Galibier in the snow, and Nibali sealed his overall victory in whiteout conditions on Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Back in time
The cases take us back to Riccardo Ricco’s near-death due to a botched blood transfusion in 2011. That came on the heels of several other doping cases — Davide Rebellin, Franco Pellizotti — and rattled Italian cycling.
Like Di Luca, Ricco had already served a doping suspension and returned to racing. The federation decided then to prohibit cyclists who served bans of six or more months from its national team or from participating in the national championships. It back pedaled somewhat due to legalities and stopped applying the ban retroactively.
Giro d’Italia race director Michele Acquarone said today that trade teams should follow the same zero-tolerance policy.
“Teams,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “should no longer sign riders with a dubious past, or those who have [been] banned.”
What the Italian team does now and what Acquarone hopes trade teams will do is make a moral decision. The concept is similar to the code of conduct that teams of the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) adhere to.
Falling on deaf ears
Italy appears quick to forget the doping scandals that rocked its beloved sport. Operación Puerto, Michele Ferrari, Ricco, Mantova and Vini Fantini make headlines, but that is about it.
Fans still cheered Di Luca. Newspapers still printed articles about Michele Scarponi, who served one ban for Operación Puerto and another for working with Ferrari. He placed fourth in the Giro last month.
Visconti took two heroic, solo stage wins on Galibier and in Vicenza. Little was asked or printed of his Ferrari-related ban over the winter. And few talked of Santambrogio’s Mantova ties and split with BMC Racing when he won on Jafferau.
“I’d rather talk about our rise in followers, the stage to Galibier or Tre Cime, or Nibali. Instead, we talk of yet another villain,” Acquarone told Italy’s Tutto Bici.
“We have a beautiful garden, reconditioned, with flowers and plants of all kinds that are the envy of the world. And we cannot have some masters allow their pooches to relieve themselves freely. We’ll clean up, but it still remains a big beautiful garden.”
The garden will remain fertile. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the UCI is about to announce a Russian cyclist tested positive for doping at the Giro.
LONDON (AFP) — British Cycling chief Brian Cookson said on Tuesday that he would challenge controversial incumbent Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the International Cycling Union.
The Irishman McQuaid has been in charge of the sport’s international governing body since 2006, but has come under pressure for the way in which the UCI reacted to the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
Cookson, 61, said he was standing against McQuaid in a bid to restore “cycling’s credibility,” having overseen a transformation in the sport’s British fortunes from near bankruptcy to the multiple medal-winning success at last year’s London Olympics led by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.
Elections will take place at the UCI’s annual congress in Florence, Italy, in September.
“I am not doing this lightly as I know how much needs to be done,” Cookson said in a statement.
“When I became the President of British Cycling in 1996, the Federation was deeply troubled and close to bankruptcy. Since that time cycling in my country has been transformed beyond recognition.
“Many wonderful people have helped this process, motivated by a passion to do the best for cycling, and I have been proud to lead them.
“Many good things have happened in our sport around the world in recent years, and I am proud that British cyclists and British events such as London 2012 have played their part in showing what a superb sport we have in cycling, in all its diversity.
“But the passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies.
“For far too many people our sport is associated with doping, with decisions that are made behind closed doors and with ceaseless conflicts with important members of the cycling family and other key stakeholders.
“We must restore cycling’s credibility. The first priority for the new UCI president must be to change the way that anti-doping is managed so that people can have confidence in the sport. We must also urgently carry out a fully independent investigation into the allegations of corruption in this area which have so damaged the UCI’s reputation.”
The UCI has come under pressure since the publication of a damning U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report in October last year, accusing Armstrong of orchestrating the biggest doping network in sporting history.
The U.S. rider was later stripped of his record seven Tour de France wins, amid allegations that the UCI was complicit in covering up previous positive tests.
The World Anti-Doping Agency also criticized the UCI when an independent panel the governing body established to examine its own alleged involvement was disbanded before it could report.